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Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

Paignton, United...
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Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

We are spending one night in Helsinki next summer (2014). I have never been to Finland before and I am really looking forward to it. I would like to know which area would be best for enjoying Helsinki given that my wife is disabled and can not walk too far, so really would need good transport links. We will probably still have our hire car so will need somewhere to park that up whilst in Helsinki. We will also be travelling with 10 year old so needs to be family friendly. I know that we will not have time to experience all that Helsinki has to offer but would really like to get a flavour of the place.

Thanks for any help you can offer

Helsinki, Finland
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1. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

The hop-on hop-off bus seems like a good option for you. Another possibility is the numerous boat tours departing from the market quay at Kauppatori - this will give you a glimpse of the Suomenlinna island fortress, a sight which otherwise demands a fair bit of legwork.

The good news is that public transport is excellent in Finland and the city centre is quite compact. If your wife can manage an hour's walking with rest stops, Kauppatori market, the Russian-built Orthodox Cathedral, Senate Square, the Lutheran Cathedral, and Esplanadi Park (cafés, restaurants, quality shopping) will all within her reach.

Helsinki, Finland
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2. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

The trams are a good option for someone unable to walk long times, they mostly have lowered floors, very easy to get in and they go near Kauppatori, Uspensk Cathedral, the Rock Church etc., basically the city center.They do not provide a guided tours though, but it's possible to get the wanted information in advance and then just sit and watch.

If it is only for a few hours, I would drive my car to Stockmann park, because the department store is right at the heart of the city, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to sit and rest inside and right outside Stockmann (plus they have the cleanest free toilets in Helsinki ;)) and then it's very easy to take trams to some interesting sights and come back to the car without walking miles.

So I would spend the money on parking, not on guided tour to get the walking to a minimum.

Finland
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3. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

If you are staying overnight, might consider Hanasaari, with free parking and good connections to Helsinki with or with out car.

Paignton, United...
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4. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

Thanks for the hotel recommendation polarbearfin. Would it be a bus from the hotel to the city centre?

Thanks also to Mrs_MM77 and JohntheFinn for the suggestions, most helpful. I really like the sound of Kauppatori market and always useful to know where the nice free toilets are!!

Presumably Helsinki is like most other capital cities in that parking at hotels gets harder the closer to the centre you get?

Are there hotels close to Kauppatori?

Thanks again for your very helpful responses, much appreciated.

Oulu, Finland
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5. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

Quite a number of the hotels have parking garages or have negotiated parking in some nearby parking facilities. These, however, are usually never free.

Helsinki, Finland
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6. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

Glo Hotel Kluuvi might be one of the closest hotel to Kauppatori, and Hoho-bus stop. Maybe two blocks away.

Edited: 23 October 2013, 21:45
Athens, Greece
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7. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

Just for one day, I would not rent a car, the transport system works well enough in Helsinki.

Being in somewhat similar situation as your wife, I can say the following:

Uspenki cathedral is worthwhile to visit, while there are steps to walk up the hill there. The same goes for the Lutheran Cathedral. Many many steps. But of course you can admire it from the square.

While Suomenlinna is a marvellous place to see history etc,, this involved also walking, but can be done. You dont have to walk around the whole island, just visit some museums there and enjoy coffee /lunch in a cafenion. An absolutely beautiful place in summer time.

During weekends, you might have to queue for tickets for quite some time.

Helsinki is a very small city, to give you an idea, from the centre (railway station) you can walk in about 10 minutes to KAUPPATORI, along the Esplanade avenue, perhaps visit the Kauppahalli there (fresh Finnish products to sample, meat, vegs etc),

A car is not needed, in my opinion. You will only end up looking for a car park, etc. Invest in one of those Helsinki visitors travel cards.

Enjoy your forthcoming stay!

Paignton, United...
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8. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

Hi Morocco, I'm sorry I wasn't very clear when I mentioned the hire car. We are staying in Naantali for a week prior to our one night stay in Helsinki so we will have a hire car for that week. Didn't seem worth getting rid of it for the last day as it will come in useful for getting back to the airport. Thansk you on your tips on where to visit.

Polarbearfin - unfortunately it looks like that hotel has no availability for family rooms for the night we wish to stay, so will have to look elsewhere.

Mrs_MM77, I shalllook into that hotel, thank you for the suggestion.

zam72, thanks for the info. Not too bothered about having to pay as long as the car is nearby and I don't have to worry about trying to find a parking space.

Thanks to everyone that has so far contributed, I really appreciate all of your input.

Helsinki
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9. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

The Old market hall at the Market square will still be under renovation = closed next summer.

Hotels relatively close to the Esplanade are Helsinki (of the Sokos chain on Kluuvikatu), or Cumulus Kaisaniemi, or to the south Fabian & Haven. Or Marski (a Scandic) or Torni (Sokos) or Klaus K.

Helsinki
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10. Re: Helsinki for one night - with restrictions!

Oh & Hotel Rivoli Jardin.